Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Why the French really hate Americans
I was looking at a highly educational Fast Food For Children Bundled Foodproducts bag today, and was reminded that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French in 1886 to celebrate our centennial. Never mind that the picture was actually of a product-placed koala bear, who crushes his testicles by falling onto a fence, which my 7-year old daughter thinks is the funniest thing ever. Well, maybe not "never mind," I may actually have to come back to that.
"AHA!" I thought. Maybe it isn't mangling their language, or competing a little too successfuly in winemaking, cycling, mushroom production, moviemaking, warmongering, sex, and cheese production that has them so angry. Maybe it's something simpler. Maybe the French were expecting a nice gift in return, for their centennial a few years later. Consider the timing. We rather boldly consider our independence to begin with the Declaration in July of '76. One could certainly argue that independence didn't really begin until we had won it in October of '83, or could further argue that we can't really begin counting until we had a successful government, in '89. However you count (and I favor starting with the British surrender at Yorktown, but even my family doesn't listen to me, and besides, October already has cool holidays...), the French were probably a tad late with their gift, and you could argue that they didn't really think of it until, like the day before, or possibly, until they started thinking about their own centennial, which reminded them of ours. Then they realized a gift exchange would be in order.
The joke was on them, however, because they gave us this really cool shiny copper lady, a blazing beacon to the world. It was a great thing. We love it, to this day. It has become one of the central images of our nation, right up their with our flag. Not that we took care of it, mind you. We let it rust rather pitifully. She wasn't meant to get all green and look like the Statue of Martian Liberty. We probably should have bought a 100-meter square polishing cloth or something. Anyway, the years went by, and I assume the President or the Secretary of State or someone sent a nice thank-you note, but no return gift ever arrived off the coast of France. How rude. I mean, this is like you getting married, and your brother buys you a new car, and then a few years later he gets married and you say "Congrats, Bro!" and clap him on the back and get him absolutely diddly-squat nothing, even though you go to his wedding and get drunk and eat a ton of food and stuff, and you are in a better position to afford a really nice gift than he really was.
Yeah, maybe France is a little bitter. We should get them something nice. Hey, whatever happened to that big Saddam Hussein statue we knocked over a few years ago? Maybe we can refurbish it to look like DeGaulle or something...
Your humblest and most devoted servant,